A barn raiser event is being held Friday, April 1 to help the Ministers Island volunteer board raise emergency funds to fix the damaged roofs on the silos of the barn at the Van Horne estate.

Brian Usher, director and co-chair of the Ministers Island board, says the fundraiser will hopefully bring them to their goal of $30,000 and allow them to move ahead with emergency repairs they had planned before more damage was caused. 

The Van Horne barn on Ministers Island suffered severe damage in a winter snowstorm Feb. 17 and Usher says as a result, the condition of the building is worsening.

"It accelerated the damage on the silos so the top of one of the silos came completely off."

Usher says the damage has been assessed and the province is looking at the cost but nothing has been done to date.

The cost of repairing the silos has been quoted at $261,000 and now the board and the province are trying to find and expedite the funds before more damage is caused.

"The water continues to go down, it's still exposed and we don't see any progress forward as yet," said Usher adding, "There certainly is intention to move on it."

Van Horne barn

The Van Horne barn was built in 1898 for a cost of $20,000, which today would be more than $500,000 US. (Ministers Island Facebook)

Usher says the repair plan includes removing all the tops off the silos that are still there and taking them off site to rebuild them. A temporary cover would be put over the silos to keep more damage from occurring.

The repair also includes fixing the cladding and siding on the silos and barn. Usher says the board thought the work would be done at different times and not all at once. 

Usher says since the silos were damaged in the storm, it has become clear the community has a deep affection for what the island means to them.

In the meantime, the board is continuing to apply for grants and has received letters of support from many community groups. However, it's not waiting for answers. It wants the repairs done, and is moving forward on getting them started as soon as possible.

"We're ready to do that and we have to convey that to the province," said Usher.

Meanwhile, the fundraiser being held at Anderson House at the Huntsman Marine Science Center has been sold out.

But a beer, Raisin D'Roof, specially brewed for the event, will be sold at other locations that evening and the proceeds will be donated to the fundraiser. 

With files from Matthew Bingley